Court Upholds Stay for Va. Death Row
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Two days before his scheduled execution, a federal appeals court upheld a stay Monday for a triple-murderer described by his lawyer as ``severely mentally retarded.″
Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the stay for Percy Levar Walton, a spokesman said late Sunday.
At least one intelligence test has measured Walton’s IQ at 66. A person with a score of 70 or lower is generally considered retarded. However, at least one other IQ test given to Walton measured his IQ at higher than 70.
Last year the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to execute a retarded person. The justices left it up to the states to determine who is and who isn’t retarded.
Kilgore will ask the justices to overturn a stay granted Sunday by a U.S. District Court judge in Roanoke and upheld Monday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Condemned inmates in Virginia are given the choice of either the electric chair or lethal injection, and Walton has chosen to die by electrocution.
Walton pleaded guilty in 1997 to three counts of capital murder for a series of slayings in Danville in November 1996.
Jessie and Elizabeth Kendrick, a couple in their 80s, were discovered by their daughter and police inside their town house. Each had been shot once in the top of the head. Two days later, police found the body of Archie Moore, 33, inside a closet in his apartment.